Drink Driving

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Police warnings have been issued to drivers looking to cool off this summer who might be tempted by the vogue for alcoholic ice lollies. Our Julie Robertson, Head of Motoring Offences at Simpson Millar, highlights the need for caution as the temperature rises during the summer months.

A False Sense Of Security

Who, in 1969 when man first set foot on the moon, could’ve envisioned the brave new world of 2017, where mobile communication is ingrained into everyday life, driverless cars are but a pen’s stroke of legislation away and alcoholic ice lollies are a reality. What a time to be alive.

The latest consumer craze tipped to be big in the coming months both cools you down and gets you drunk. Available in a range of flavours, such as mojito, pina colada and strawberry daiquiri, the lollies contain an alcohol content ranging from an as fresh as a fiddle 4.5% to a don’t come Monday 10%.

They may sound fun if you’re foot-bound and on a mission for a cheekier form of refreshment, but if your tastes are geared more towards a motorised form of transport, you should exercise extreme caution.

The unassuming demeanour of the common or garden ice lolly, along with its nostalgic ties to childhood, can offer a false sense of security.

Drivers, who have made the conscious decision to stick to one alcoholic beverage, or choose not to drink at all, may be tempted by an ice lolly, particularly in scorching temperatures, thinking it a harmless novelty, but inadvertently tipping themselves over the legal drink drive limit.

What Are The Legal Limits For The UK?

Motorists who blow over 35 micrograms in a breath sample will face prosecution for driving under the influence and the consequences of being convicted by a Court can be catastrophic, potentially causing the loss of licence, job and often resulting in serious familial disharmony.

The limits differ between Scotland (in brackets) and the rest of the UK:

  • 35 (22) micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 (50) milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 (67) milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

There is no safe cut off point to the number of drinks (or ice lollies) you can have before you are considered over the limit, as it varies from one person to the next and depends on factors such as:

  • Weight, age, sex and the rate at which your body uses energy
  • Type of drink and amount consumed
  • Recent food intake
  • Levels of stress at time.

What Are The Penalties For Drink Driving?

If you are caught driving while over the legal drink drive limit, you could lose your licence and possibly go to prison.

The potential penalties are as follows:

  • A 6 month prison sentence
  • A minimum 1 year driving ban, or 3 years if a motorist already has a relevant conviction recorded on their licence
  • An unlimited fine.

It is also worth remembering that the morning after drinking, traces of alcohol may remain in your system, tipping you over the limit and leaving you at risk of prosecution if you choose to drive and are stopped by the police.

Super-strength Lager

Alcohol has the same effect regardless of how it’s taken, no matter how novel or ‘wacky’ the medium by which it is delivered. It can be easy to forget that this isn’t simply flavouring and the 10% ABV of an ice lolly has the same potency as that offered by an equivalent helping from a can of super-strength lager.

Julie comments:

“As we make the most of the current hot weather, it is extremely important for motorists to think carefully about the amount of alcohol they might be consuming.”

“While most drivers are acutely aware of the ease with which a few drinks in a beer garden or at a BBQ can put them above the legal limit, people often do not think about alcohol from other sources such as ice lollies. This can really catch out anybody who may have already had the one alcoholic drink. My advice is to carefully check the alcohol content of any ice lollies that may contain alcohol as ignorance is no defence in law.”

“If it is alleged that you have driven with excess alcohol you should seek advice regarding your options because a driving ban is mandatory on conviction and being found guilty can have serious ramifications for both your reputation and livelihood.”

“Seeking independent legal advice is necessary to best assess your chances of beating an alleged wrongdoing. Choosing a lawyer who is a specialist in defending motoring offences is essential in order to maximise your chances of being found not guilty.”


Written by Julie Robertson

For more information on personal injury and the services offered by Simpson Millar, please call:

0808 129 3304

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